May 18, 2017

Quick and Easy Tomato Chicken Stew

Even though the key ingredients here are tomato, chicken, and chicken soup, but in fact it's the cilantro that make this dish shine. 

I didn't expect that a small bundle of leftover cilantro can greatly enhance the flavors. This dish provides warmth from the chicken stock and a pop of refreshing aroma from the herbs. And one extra point - nearly zero food waste, even the cilantro stems were chopped up into the stew.

Quick and easy tomato chicken stew - 


  • 0.5 lb chicken tenders
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 cabbage
  • 1 pack maitake mushroom
  • 1 box of semi-firm tofu
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 small bundle cilantro
  • Some chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon mirin
  • 1 tablespoon grated or finely chopped ginger
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Some black pepper


Cut the chicken tenders into 2 or 3 smaller pieces. Peel and roughly chop the garlic cloves. Drain and slice the tofu into about half inch pieces. Tear the cabbage into smaller pieces. Finely chop the cilantro and separate the stems and leafy parts. 

Drizzle some olive oil to the pot and turn to medium high heat. Add in the garlic along with some salt and pepper. Cook till the garlic turns slightly browned but not burnt.

Add in chicken pieces and sear till slightly colored on the surface.

Add in grated ginger and let it cook for about 30 seconds, till aromatic. Pour in soy sauce, mirin, and chopped cilantro stems. Give it a quick stir then add in the mushrooms. Cook for another minute or two then top with cabbage. The cabbage might appear overflowing the pot, but it will start to wilt after few minutes.

Once the cabbage wilts and easier to mix with other ingredients, gently transfer the tofu into the pot. Drain the canned tomatoes then pour into the mixture. Also pour in some chicken stock, just enough for the liquid to go slightly above all the ingredients, but use more stock if soupier texture is preferred. Bring to a boil then lower the heat to keep it at a simmer for another 10 minutes.

Sprinkle some chopped cilantro leaves right before serving. 

Fresh tomatoes are doable too, but sometimes the canned version binds better in a stew, and doesn't take long to cook. If using fresh tomatoes, it might take a while to turn soft with center texture almost melts in the stew.

Other stew recipes with tons of veggies:

May 12, 2017

Salted Black Beans Beef Stir-Fry (豆鼓炒牛肉)

Salted/fermented black beans (豆鼓) is such a versatile ingredient that I absolutely adore. Salty and sweet at the same time, it never fails adding depth to my Chinese dishes. Here's an old post back in 2013 with a picture of the salted black beans and the brand I preferred. Hopefully you can find it at your local Asian grocery store!

Salted black beans beef stir-fry - 


Marinade -
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 tablespoon salted black beans
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce

Others - 

  • 0.5 lb beef (cut into 1/4 to 1/3 thickness bite size pieces)
  • 1 onion
  • 1 red chili
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • Some black pepper
  • Some chopped cilantro


Peel and roughly chop the garlic cloves. Mix the chopped garlic with salted black beans and soy sauce. Use this marinade to massage the beef pieces. Cover and refrigerate, let it marinate for at least 2 hours. If marinate over 12 hours or overnight, you might want to reduce the amount of salt used later on.

Peel and slice the onion. Trim off the chili stem and give it a fine chop.

Drizzle some olive oil to the pan and turn to medium high heat. Add in the onion along with some salt and black pepper. Give it a quick stir and cook till the edges of the onion turns slightly browned. Remember to add in the chilies halfway through.

Add in the beef and all the marinade. Cook till fully cooked through, even slightly browned on the meat is fine.

Plate the beef and garnish with chopped cilantro.

Salted black beans work well on various ingredients. Not just beef, it can also be used in fish, pork, chicken, and even tofu. Try to find a high quality version to get the full benefit of its natural sweetness from the fermentation. 

Other recipes using salted black beans: